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“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.” – Luke 6:37, DRB
To refrain from judging other people is not to stop trying to discern or to see things wisely. It is not to refrain from trying to know what is right and what is wrong.
Rather, to refrain from judging others is to prevent forming untimely conclusions. It is to avoid thinking that we already know everything when in so many cases, we know not much at all.
We must stop judging from the external alone because there is so much that we do not see. We must stop judging from our experiences alone because there is so much that we do not yet understand.
How can we say that we already know everything about another person when there is so much that we don’t even know yet about ourselves?
How can we conclude that a person’s life would never change for the better when we can’t even guarantee that our lives won’t change for the worse?
Instead of seeing ourselves as all-knowing and all-seeing, let us humble ourselves and acknowledge our own smallness. Instead of quickly judging by mere appearances, let us ask God to help us see from the heart.
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by man’s judgment. Yes, I don’t judge my own self. For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each man will get his praise from God. – 1 Corinthians 4:3-5, WEB-BE
Judge not prematurely. Give others some benefit of doubt. Only God knows all things and all that could ever happen.
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